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Thanks to kind acts completed by Hawley Elementary School third graders, gifts of pajamas and books will be donated to the Women’s Center of Greater Danbury to be distributed to children this holiday season.
As part of the school’s Kindness Month, third grade students were challenged by their teachers to complete at least ten acts of kindness. For each act of kindness, parents were then asked to donate between 50 cents and $2. The money raised, along with further assistance from Hawley staff, purchased the gifts, which were bought by Hawley teachers.
As part of a celebration to recognize the effort, students in Hawley teachers Tracy Galassi, Jen Pirone, and Sam Haber’s classes gathered in the school’s multipurpose room on December 13. Students were told they could wear pajamas and festive hats for the day, and they stepped up to that challenge, too. The room was soon filled with students wearing pajamas — like a fluffy Grinch-inspired set and a Mrs Santa Claus-inspired set — and hats with reindeer antlers, bells, and more on them.
“We have been waiting for this day,” said Ms Galassi, after all of the students were seated in the center of the room.
The students were waiting for instructions on how all of the purchased presents would be put together, but first, the teachers asked for students to share some of their acts of kindness with the room.
One student shared that he put away all of the dishes in his family’s dishwasher, another said he mailed his cousin in the army a care package, another boy said he asked someone sitting on the school’s Buddy Bench to play with him and his friends, another student wrote a letter to thank officers at the Newtown Police Department, one student made pancakes for his family for breakfast, another stacked his neighbor’s wood pile, one girl fed her family’s dog all day so her parents would have the day free of one chore, and another student donated stuffed animals to a charity.
Ms Galassi asked the students to listen and think about all of the kind acts each of the students completed. Combined, as one student quickly estimated, the third graders completed roughly 630 acts of kindness.
After Ms Galassi asked the students if kindness is just something for the month of December, the students all said, “No.” She asked them to think about all of the people affected by their acts of kindness.
Pointing to where the purchased pajamas and books were sorted, Ms Galassi said, “You can see how your acts of kindness also spread here.”
The pajamas were sorted by size, and the teachers corresponded the books to the age and appropriate pajama size for that age, so the students could easily match the sizes with the right books. The students were instructed to select a pajamas set, a book to go with it, and a box to wrap everything together.
The three classes then rotated between wrapping presents, drawing cards to be distributed with the gifts, and reading. For the cards, the students were told to make them out to a “Dear Holiday Friend” and to not share their full names on the cards.
Student Keira Hintze said she liked the project because “I like spreading kindness.”
Sitting next to her student Hailey Gilman said she enjoyed the project because “We get to spread kindness to everywhere around us.”